Christian evangelist Franklin Graham suggested marriage counseling and the words, God bless you, would help stop the skyrocketing rate of suicides of U.S. veterans on July 7.
Graham posted a link on his Facebook to a USA TODAY article that reported an average of 20 veterans killed themselves daily in 2014, and wrote:
...We can’t help everybody, but we can help some. At Samaritan's Purse we bring 10 couples—wounded veterans and their spouses—to Alaska each week of the summer for Operation Heal Our Patriots. They enjoy the beauty of God’s creation, get to go fishing and bear watching, and most importantly receive Christian-based marriage counseling.
Every week we see marriages that were on the rocks get rescued and turned around. Couples renew their wedding vows. We have couples come who don’t know God or His salvation, and many find peace through a born-again relationship with His Son Jesus Christ.
Graham advised his readers to pray for veterans, and tell them "God bless you" and "thank you."
The Department of Veterans Affairs released a study that found the group with the highest suicide rates among veterans were males ages 18-29, at 86 per 100,000 people, according to the USA TODAY article Graham shared.
The newly-released numbers, which USA TODAY released on July 7, also found female veterans ages 18-29 had a suicide rate of 33 per 100,000. That number is more than double the overall suicide rate in the U.S.
The report did not indicate if the vets who chose to take their lives were Christians or married.
David Shulkin, VA undersecretary for health, said: "It is difficult to understand why that is happening. It is one of the things that I think will become a central research question for us."
Shulkin said the VA added more health professionals to do therapy via a crisis hotline (800-273-8255).
The national suicide rate is 13 per 100,000, and three-and-a-half times as many men commit suicide than women. There are approximately 117 suicides in the U.S. everyday, and 70 percent of those in 2014 were white males. Guns are responsible for nearly 50 percent of suicides, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.